Four techniques for—excuse me, I'm speaking—quashing interruptions
When being interrupted is unacceptable—because you’ll lose your train of thought or relinquish control to someone whose views have had more than a fair hearing—it’s time to do your own interrupting.
When being interrupted is unacceptable—because you’ll lose your train of thought or relinquish control to someone whose views have had more than a fair hearing—it’s time to do your own interrupting. Try these techniques:
• Demand quiet. Look the interrupter directly in the eyes and say evenly, “Please don’t interrupt.” Then raise your voice a tad and continue with what you were saying. This may be tough to do at first, but it gets results and gets easier with each repetition.
• Be a traffic cop. Stop the interrupter just as a policeman halts traffic. Put your arm out at waist or chest height, your palm toward the interrupter. People often respond to nonverbal signals more readily than to words.
• Use the ‘leveling’ technique. Bring your objections into the open, and deal directly with the offending behavior. You might say, “This is the sixth time I’ve been interrupted in as many minutes. It makes it hard to stay focused. Please allow me to finish. Then you may respond without interruption.”
• Anticipate interruptions. Sometimes a person’s body language signals a desperate need to talk. Be proactive, graciously stop the proceedings, and say, “Let’s stop for a moment to see what other issues need to be addressed.” This way, you won’t lose pace or patience—and you’ll stay in control.
(Carol Rudman, Ph.D., Frames of Reference, Peterson’s/Pacesetter Books, Princeton, NJ.)
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